There are plenty of words in Spanish, but you'll notice that there are quite a few which pop up quite a lot. These are amongst some of the "palabras claves" (key words) to know in Spanish. These are the building blocks of Spanish if you will. While they themselves don't mean very much, you need them to start constructing sentences. This page is intended for people who have had no prior experience with Spanish and want to quickly get in on speaking and reading Spanish. First I will introduce you to about ten or so basic words and their various forms that will appear in nearly every sentence you will read. After that, we'll get on to some quick conversation building blocks and common phrases.

Palabras Que Debe Saber Para Leer
(Words That You Should Know for Reading)
el, la, los, las
El, la, las, and los are all different forms of the article "the", depending on gender and number. El and la are singular, and los and las are plural.
de, del, de la
De, del, and de la are all different forms of the preposition "of", depending on the gender of the word following.
que (with to accent over the e)
Que translates nearly perfectly to "that" in English. Keep in mind, this is without the accent. With the accent, qué means "What?"
ha, has, han
The h is silent, so they're pronounced ah, ahss, and ahn respectively. These are all forms of a special verb. They do not mean "I have", but rather "he had said", or "she has finished", or "I have done that".
there is / have to
A simple phrase you'll usually see at the beginning of a sentence, usually meaning "there is". This is another form of the same verb behind "ha", "has", and "han", but it is usually used by itself or to start a sentence. Like the above words, it is also pronounced without the h, so it is pronounced like "aye". As an interesting note, this is not the "ay" in "Ay caramba" a la Bart Simpson. But we'll get to it.
This is not the sí as in "Yes", but rather, the word "if". It is said very short, and not quite as drawn out as the English word "see" or "sea".
It translates nearly perfectly from the English "about". It is used in examples like "This story is about a man", "The mayor was talking about the crime spike", or "About the Author". It is not used like "It is about time" or "I'm about to finish", which are different expressions.
itself, them, him, it is...
Se is a tricky one because it is both a type of pronoun referring to either yourself or a previously understood someone or something else (depending on the context), but at the same time, it is also used much like the English expression "It is". The quickest example I can give you is "Se Habla Español", a sign you may see in some places. This doesn't mean "We Speak Spanish", but rather "Spanish (it) is spoken". It's a bit of a quirk where Spanish uses this word first where we might put it in the middle to expresse the idea that (something) is (verbed), but you'll get the hang of it.
Y, pronounced "ee" is the quickest and easiest way to express the idea of "and". However, it may not always be the appropriate use if it's a more complex sentence. Fairly simple, but sometimes in native-speaker speed this word can get mushed into other ones making it hard to hear. You'll learn with context.
Ya usually translates as "already", and has that general idea of something having already happened attached to it. Many speakers (including myself) will add a j sound to it as well, so you may hear "jaa" just as well as the more expected version of "ya"

Knowing these basic words will be extremely important. These are both formal and practial. But life is a lot more than reading sometimes, so now we'll introduce you to ten phrases and words that can help start a basic conversation and help your conversations flow. This is of course. just the beginning, but we feel this will be enough for right now.

Palabras A Saber Para Hablar (Words to Know for Speaking)
This is a pretty universal way to say hello across the Spanish-speaking world.
Yo acabo de empezar aprender el español
I just started learning Spanish
If you're looking at this page, you'll likely need to follow up a few sentences down the line explaining that you just started learning how to speak Spanish.
¿Qué pasa? / ¿Qué onda?
What's up?
This is a more casual way to ask "What's Up?". "¿Qué onda?" is a regionalism associated mainly with Central America meaning the same thing.
Nada bien/ Nada nada limonada
Nothing much / Nuffin' Nuffin Muffin Nuffin'
Literally "nothing well" and "nothing nothing lemonade", the former is a typical response to ¿Qué pasa? while the latter is a funny elementary school-type response to "What's up?" when it's "nothing much".
You'll probably find yourself using this word soon enough. If you roll the R here, you'll get the word for dog. The Spanish single R is a little different from the English R. For a bit of help, see the pronunciation article we have on this very topic.
Pues / Bueno
"Um...", "Well..." or "OK..."
"Pues..." and "Bueno..." are words you use for fillers, just like we would use the above phrases when coming up with what we're going to say next. "Pues" has a bit more of the feel of "well..." or "umm..." while "Bueno" has a bit more of the feel of "Um...OK...?" or "OK...."
La cosa es (que) ...
The thing is (that)
Don't be surprised if this phrase rolls off your tongue after saying "Pues" or "Bueno", especially if you have to describe why something is a certain way.
"Oh!" / "Ouch!"
An exclamation expressing "Oh" like in "Oh man!" or "Ouch!". It is usually associated with some kind of pain, and can be attached to other word. Yes, this is the one Bart Simpson uses!
Y por eso
And for (because of) this
This is a bit of a Spanish habit you'll need to get used to, but basically, when there's a reason you're doing something and it leads to a result that you're telling to your friend or client about, "Y por eso" is kind of a linking clause. It's not always necessary, but it flows better.
(A mí) Me gusta
Literally "(As for me) It pleases me"
You've probably already heard "Me gusta", and you may know that TECHNICALLY speaking, it means "it is pleasing to me" and not "me like". You may have also seen it paired with "A mí", which means "as for me". You would only use this when say, you were in a group and everyone was talking about whether or not they like (or something is pleasing, if you want to get technical) to them. When the topic shifts to you, you would say "A mí". Simple enough?
¿Por qué?
Probably another little piece of Spanish you've heard. You may also be aware that the same word for "Why?" when shifted into porque, means "because". So you have the question and the answer in the same word, the only difference is in the spelling and accent. They are otherwise pronounced the same.

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